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Office of the Election Supervisor for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters

December 18, 1998




Kirk Stephenson

December 18, 1998

Page 1


Kirk Stephenson

332 N. 102nd

Seattle, WA 98133


Jon L. Rabine, Sec.-Treas.

Teamsters Local Union 763

553 John Street

Seattle, WA 98109


Hoffa Slate

c/o Patrick J. Szymanski, Esq.

Baptiste & Wilder

1150 Connecticut Avenue, NW

Suite 500

Washington, DC 20036

Bradley T. Raymond, Esq.

Finkel, Whitefield, Selik,

  Raymond, Ferrara & Feldman

32300 Northwestern Highway

Suite 200

Farmington Hills, MI 48334


James P. Hoffa

2593 Hounds Chase

Troy, MI 48098

Kirk Stephenson

December 18, 1998

Page 1


Re: Election Office Case No. PR-368-LU763-EOH

                                                  Decision on Remand




Kirk Stephenson, a member of Local Union 763, filed a pre-election protest pursuant to Article XIV, Section 2(b) of the Rules for the 1995-1996 IBT International Union Delegate and Officer Election (“Rules”) against Jon Rabine, secretary-treasurer of Local Union 763 and a candidate for Western Regional vice-president on the Hoffa Unity Slate (“Hoffa Slate”).  The protester alleges that Mr. Rabine held a shop stewards seminar at the expense of Local Union 763 as a pretext for campaign activity in support of his candidacy, in violation of the Rules

Mr. Rabine denies the allegation.  He admits that some campaign activity in support of his candidacy took place on the day in question, but notes the campaign activity was strictly segregated from the stewards’ seminar, that the activity occurred after the seminar had adjourned and that the costs of the campaign activity were not paid for by Local Union 763.


Kirk Stephenson

December 18, 1998

Page 1


On November 24, 1998, the Election Officer issued a decision denying this protest in its entirety.  The protester appealed this decision to the Election Appeals Master and a hearing on the matter was conducted on December 13, 1998.  During the hearing, the protester argued that, notwithstanding the Election Officer’s rulings on the steward’s seminar overall, Mr. Rabine’s announcement of a campaign event during the steward’s seminar violated the Rules.  After the hearing before the Election Appeals Master, but prior to a decision, the Election Officer requested remand of the case for reconsideration of his decision.


The protest was investigated by Election Office Staff Attorney Peter F. Gimbrère.


On October 31, 1998, Local Union 763 held a shop stewards seminar at the Executive Inn, located directly across the street from Local Union 763 in Seattle, Washington. The program ran from 8:30 a.m. until a little after noon, followed by lunch until a little after 1:00 p.m.  The program included presentations by Secretary-Treasurer Jon Rabine, an FMCS Commissioner, the  Public Employment Relations Commission Executive Director, a lawyer, a pension fund Account Executive and the Joint Council Research Director. There is no allegation nor evidence that there was any campaigning during the seminar.


The lunch lasted from approximately 12:20 p.m. until 1 p.m.  At approximately 12:55 p.m., Mr. Rabine announced that the shop steward seminar was adjourned and then advised everyone that he had personally rented the room across the hall from where the seminar had been held for the specific purpose of discussing the International Officer Rerun Election and his candidacy. He invited anyone who was interested to attend. After a group of about 30 individuals reassembled across the hall, he made a campaign presentation for about half an hour.


I.              Allegations that the stewards seminar was organized to promote the candidacy of Mr. Rabine


The protester alleged that the seminar was orchestrated and conducted to promote the candidacy of Mr. Rabine.  The investigation disclosed that the local union signed contracts for the room rentals and catering in mid-September 1998 and sent out invitations to the seminar in late September. The timing of the meeting was similar to shop steward seminars held in prior years. (In 1996, the seminar was held on September 7; in 1997, the fall seminar was held on November 1; and in 1998, the seminar was held on October 31).  The location had been the same for all the seminars.  As in the past, current stewards and some past stewards were invited to attend; those local committee members who expressed an interest were permitted to attend and local union officers, staff and business agents were required to attend.  Ninety-nine people attended this year, compared to 92 in 1997 and 95 in 1996.  The substance concerned matters of legitimate union interest.  Thus, it appears that the 1998 seminar was not significantly different from past seminars in timing, location, attendance or program.


Pursuant to the Rules, the protester has the burden to present evidence that a violation has occurred.  Rules, Article XIV, Section 1.  The protester presented  no evidence supporting the allegation that the Conference was orchestrated to promote Mr. Rabine’s candidacy.


Kirk Stephenson

December 18, 1998

Page 1


However, Mr. Rabine did campaign at the shop stewards seminar in violation of the Rules when he announced his own campaign meeting following the seminar. The Rules at Article VIII, Section 5(a)(4) set forth procedures that govern campaigning at union meetings.  The rules require that the opportunity to campaign be made available to all candidates equally and that the opportunity be offered in advance of the union event. Although Mr. Rabine’s statement concerning his event was made at the end of the meeting, the stewards were still in the room attending the union-sponsored event.  In similar situations, the Election Officer has found a violation.  See Woods, PR-321-LU249-EOH (October 14, 1998) (After the meeting was adjourned, but while the attendees were in the room, local union officer announces campaign fundraiser.); Galcatcher, PR-078-LU523-SOU (May 20, 1998) (Officer gives report on Hoffa rally after adjournment of local union meeting.)             


II.              Allegations related to the Rabine campaign function


The protester alleged that Mr. Rabine’s use of a room that was also used by the Local Union’s steward seminar violates the Rules.              The local union had not rented the room for the time it was used by Mr. Rabine.  Indeed, the seminar had been adjourned by the time Mr. Rabine began his campaign activity.  The contracts from the hotel show that the room had been rented by Mr. Rabine from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM.  Mr. Rabine rented the room at commercial rates and he submitted to the Election Officer a copy of his check to the hotel for $108.40 in payment for the room.  Mr. Rabine, therefore, did not violate the Rules by holding a campaign event in that room.  See Hoffa, PR-124-IBT-EOH (September 10, 1998), aff’d, 98 - Elec. App.- 386 (KC) (October 5, 1998).


Accordingly, the protest is GRANTED as to campaigning at the shop stewards seminar; and DENIED as to the other allegations.


When the Election Officer determines that the Rules have been violated, he “may take whatever remedial action is appropriate.”  Article XIV, Section 4.  In fashioning the appropriate remedy, the Election Officer views the nature and seriousness of the violation as well as the potential for interfering with the election process. 


Although the election is now completed, the Election Officer still believes that in view of the violation found herein, Mr. Rabine should copy and send the attached notice to all those who attended the shop steward seminar.  Mr. Rabine shall send the attached notice by December 24, 1998.  By December 28, 1998, Mr. Rabine shall file an affidavit with the Election Officer detailing his compliance with this order.


An order of the Election Officer, unless otherwise stayed, takes immediate effect against a party found to be in violation of the RulesIn re Lopez, 96 - Elec. App. - 73 (KC) ( February 13, 1996).

Kirk Stephenson

December 18, 1998

Page 1


Any interested party not satisfied with this determination may request a hearing before the Election Appeals Master within one (1) day of receipt of this letter.  The parties are reminded that, absent extraordinary circumstances, no party may rely upon evidence that was not presented to the Office of the Election Officer in any such appeal.  Requests for a hearing shall be made in writing and shall be served on:


Kenneth Conboy, Esq.

Latham & Watkins

885 Third Avenue, Suite 1000

New York, NY  10022

Fax:  (212) 751-4864



Copies of the request for hearing must be served on the parties listed above as well as upon the Election Officer, 444 North Capitol Street, NW, Suite 445, Washington, DC  20001, Facsimile (202) 624-3525.  A copy of the protest must accompany the request for a hearing.







Michael G. Cherkasky

Election Officer





cc:              Kenneth Conboy, Election Appeals Master





OCTOBER 31, 1998





The Election Officer has found that I violated the Election Rules when I announced a campaign meeting at the end of the Shop Steward Seminar on October 31, 1998.  Under the Rules, local union resources may not be used for campaigning.










____________________                                          ____________________________

Date                                                                                                  Jon Rabine

Secretary-Treasurer, Local 763












Approved by Michael G. Cherkasky, Election Officer